cakes

When I come home from church on Sunday afternoons, after meeting my friend Jackie for lunch, listening to her tell me stories about her fourth-grade class and the funny things they say, I kick off my shoes and pull up my hair and think about taking a long, comfortable nap, with blankets piled high, the windows open and the fresh breeze flowing in. But instead, for weeks in a row now, I’ve done no such thing. Instead, go figure, I’ve been baking cakes.

It all started when my brother told me about that coconut recipe he saw; then there was the yogurt I wanted to try baking with, although that might have been a weeknight; most recently, it was because I had a glass full of heavy cream about to go bad, and I didn’t want to waste it. These are simple excuses, not exactly the stuff of solid alibi, I know, but what can I say? Cakes are simple and satisfying—like cookies—and they don’t take much work, and, well, mostly, I am bad at turning them down, even when fresh sheets call my name.

For this last cake, I didn’t go in with high hopes, which is key to enjoying what you make, I find. This would just be something to use the heavy cream in, and I didn’t care how it was frosted or what I would do with it or who would eat it.

batter for cream cake

To start, I mixed the batter: eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla and, importantly, heavy cream. It’s the cream that gives the mixture its consistency: thick and velvety, the kind that holds its shape when you lift it from the bowl. I actually went back to the recipe a few times to make sure I hadn’t forgotten something, sure a batter this thick couldn’t be right. But after I’d spread it in the pan like frosting and baked it for half an hour, it emerged as something entirely different: a simple, fragrant, white cake that pulled away from the edges of the pan and fell easily onto a cooling rack.

cakes in pans

This recipe is called a cream cake, which, beyond its obvious use of cream in the ingredients, simply means it is the kind usually filled and/or topped with some sort of cream or cream-like substance like a custard. I ate this cake—well, cakes, since it makes two layers—plain, sans frosting, and enjoyed every simple, sweet bite. But they’d be just as lovely with a homemade whipped cream, maybe with fresh berries on the side. I’d avoid buttercream, which would be too heavy with the rich texture, if you can.

cream cake

Honestly, I had half a mind to go out to the store for some whipping cream to whip up right then, but, anticipating the following Sunday afternoon when I’d want to use up the leftovers, again, I stopped myself. So I hope you’ll try it that way for me? Do it whenever you’d like, Sunday afternoons or otherwise, and let me know what you think.





Cream Cake
Adapted from About.com

Like I said, because this was an impromptu decision, I didn’t plan for frosting, but I think you should. Homemade whipped cream is as simple as blending heavy cream in a bowl, set over another bowl filled with ice. (You can also just stick everything in a stand mixer [no ice], but it will take longer.) Once it’s starting to thicken, add around three Tablespoons of sugar and maybe a little vanilla for flavor and continue mixing.

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 2/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs until thick and bright yellow; then add sugar.

In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add them, alternately with the cream and vanilla, beating well.

Spread batter into two 8-inch round pans—it will seem thicker than usual cake batter, but that is OK. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Lan

    i’ve also been on a baking cake binge, not so much the cookies anymore. you’re so right about it being so much simpler and so easy to whip up. you could make this your new sunday thing: church, lunch, whip together cake, cat nap and then afternoon tea with a slice of whatever cake you created. lovely addition to your sunday, no?

  2. Adam

    I like to consider myself a foodie and semi-decent cook…but on Sundays, I have no control: the nap always wins! This must be why a cupcake shop opened around the corner from my apartment…so I could take my Sunday nap, wake up, walk about a block and have my own sized-for-one cake.

  3. lo

    I haven’t been baking lately, which means that this cake is completely calling my name. Bet it would be glorious with a bit of freshly whipped cream. Or maybe just a nice berry puree.

  4. Shannalee

    Lan – I thought of you when I crawled into my bed this afternoon, wondering if I could get a cake and a nap in. Today, the nap won, but, between us, I’m not sure it was more satisfying than cake. In fact, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t.

    Risa – Sundays are my favorite days.

    Adam – You make me laugh. Have a cupcake for me, OK?

    Gabi – If only a quarter of it were left!

    Lo – I bet it would, too! Please tell me if you try it!

    Kim – Thanks so much, and glad to have you visiting!

    DD – You should try it!

    Alicia – That is awesome. We will have to discuss. I figure, if we can run a race together, what can’t we do? Fortune cookies should be a breeze.

  5. My First Kitchen

    It’s been way too long since I’ve come over to enjoy your voice. As I’m sitting in front of my computer this morning, feverishly trying to get a million and one things done, I thought, “I should go visit Shannalee.” So I did. And as silly as it sounds, I’ve really missed you. :) I don’t like how in my busyness (and constant state of pregnant fatigue) the first thing to go these days is reading blogs, but at least this morning, I was reminded how much I love FLW. And I’m all about the oh-darn-I-have-random-ingredients-that-need-to-be-used baking excuses. I have one starting to go bad banana, and I have a feeling banana bread awaits me very soon.

  6. Shannalee

    Kendra – I’ve missed you, too! How’s that little baby treating you these days? I’d say if there were ever a good excuse to get away from blogging, carrying a little one is probably it! ps I love banana bread. A lot.

  7. Mariana

    This cake is great! I made an extra half a recipe and then I put them one on top of the other with a middle filling of whipped cream and strawberries that had been resting in sugar for an hour…and then covered the whole thing in more whipped cream….it looks great, and the texture of the cake is so good and creamy… It also gave me strawberry syrup to make salad dressing afterwards, which is great! Thanks, love your blog!

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